How it all ends

Before telling what happened yesterday, it must be acknowledged that I'm an ass and what I did only hurts myself. You don't need to scold me; I've already scolded myself.

And yet, when Dollar Tree has only one cash register open, as 21 people stand in a line stretching back to the $1.25 toilet paper and paper towels… I'm leaving. So I left.

It didn't matter how much I needed those four frozen cheeseburgers, and two big bottles of fruity water, and five mid-size sacks of chips at an unbeatable price. Everything was left behind, like atheists come the rapture.

Now it's Monday, and I must face the consequences: Today, tomorrow, and until I repeat that same trip to the store but actually stay and pay, my sack lunches will include no chips. Two peanut butter and Buddig sandwiches, by themselves, without anything salty and crunchy between the bites? I'm sad about that, even as the sandwiches are slipped into a sack.

It's my own damned fault. I had nowhere else to be but home alone, tilted in my recliner. If I'd simply sighed and waited in line however long waiting in line might have taken, I'd have chips today.

And I'd written the above before reading and re-typing a similar story from 27 years ago, for the latest stale Pathetic Life. On that day in 1995, just like yesterday, I walked into a store to buy something I wanted, got pissed off instead, and walked out without what I'd walked in for.

The point is obvious, isn't it? I'm the same shitty man now that I was then, impatient, full of idiotic indignation about the tiniest things, when I ought to be mellow and patient.

And I'm the same shitty writer, too. Half of everything I write is about what a business, a bus driver, a boss, my mom, or some stranger did, and how it pissed me off. It's all real, but it might as well be copypasta.

This website will end, I predict, shortly after I finally make an appointment to see a doctor about something scary, after letting it fester far too long because I hate doctors. Maybe it'll be headaches so powerful they've cracked my skull like an egg. Maybe it'll be a blood- and pus-leaking lump on my kneecap. What the heck, let's make it both — the cracked head and the pus-leaking knee.

Months after I should've, I'll make an appointment to see a doctor, some specialist in skulls and pustules. I'll be sitting in the waiting room, fuming because my appointment was supposed to be 45 minutes ago and I was on time, so where's this damned doctor? I've already read the clinic's copies of Modern Goiter and Carcinogen Update.

Well, I'll show them — by stomping out of the clinic, limping to the bus stop, riding home, typing a few funny paragraphs about it, and dying in my recliner a week later.


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  1. Intense! Send it to the ava

    1. Nah, not good enough for the AVA. Not much here is.

  2. >This website will end, I predict, shortly after I finally make an appointment to see a doctor about something scary, after letting it fester far too long because I hate doctors.

    I remember a PL entry, where the guy at the newspaper kiosk disappeared. Then a week later, you wrote something like,

    "Well, now I know why the newspaper stand was closed. Went by, and there was a piece of paper with a terrible poem on it. Somewhere in the words were included the phrase "had cancer and never told anyone.""

    This is you and me both, man.

    1. I only vaguely remember that. Also only vaguely remember newspaper kiosks...

  3. In 2000 I suddenly lost my voice. I thought it was simple laryngitis, but after several trips to an ENT who didn't have a clue what was going on, sent me to a colleague. I had just lost my job a few weeks earlier and had about a week worth of health insurance left. I made an appointment and went to see his colleague, but gave up and left after waiting 90 minutes to be seen.

    Fast forward 2 years and the voice hasn't improved and now I'm having trouble breathing. I see a new ENT who looks down my throat and checks me into the hospital for a traceostomy. "Your vocal cords are less than a milimeter apart and totally immobile."

    Thus began my cancer journey. Looking back now I often wonder what would've happened had I stayed to see the doctor, but I realize that if it had been caught earlier, I might have a full voice back (I still sound like an old lady), and might still be living in SF. But on the other hand, I would've never met my husband, and that alone justifies the admittedly impetuous actions I took twenty years ago.

    1. I love your perspective, man. Sure, you could've avoided the cancer, but you'd have missed falling in love. I'd take that trade, I think.

      Of course, cancer hasn't hit me yet, so for me it's not an informed choice. Love's hit me though, and I wouldn't trade it for anything, even cancer.

      I would also add, more pessimistically, from many years of dealing with many doctors, there's about a 50/50 chance that if you'd waited another hour to see the doc you walked out on, he/she would've missed the diagnosis.


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